Free advice

Here’s some information that might be useful to you if you’re trying to upgrade your motherboard or move a hard drive from one computer to another. I spent most of Sunday night doing this, so maybe by posting it here I can save someone out there some grief.

Back in the “good old days” of Windows 9x, all you had to do was pull the hard drive from one machine and plug it in to the other. Of course you then had to spend a few hours installing drivers for all the new hardware, but that’s another story.

Now with Windows 2000 and XP, this procedure is a little more complicated. If you pull a Windows 2000 hard drive out of one machine and plug it into another you’ll get a nasty blue screen of death that says something like “INACCESSIBLE BOOT DEVICE”. To my knowledge, there’s no way around this message. Windows 2000’s repair process won’t fix it, and I couldn’t find a way to fix it at the recover console.

So here’s what you do. Before you remove the hard drive from the first computer or take out the old motherboard, change your IDE controller driver to Standard IDE. Here’s how to do that on Windows 2000:

Go to Start, Settings, Control Panel
Double-click System
Click the Hardware tab
Click Device Manager
Double-click IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers
Double-click the IDE controller
Click the Driver tab
Click Update Driver
Click Next
Choose Display a list…
Click Next
Choose Standard Dual Channel PCI IDE Controller
Click Next
Click Next
Click Finish

Now instead of restarting your computer, shut down and move the hard drive to your new computer or swap out your motherboard. Your computer should now boot all the way to the desktop so you can start loading all the drivers for your new hardware.

I can’t wait to see how Microsoft improves their OS next…